Science can not follow: further already known forms
The licorice gouramis, shown on this website as ”species”, are only those described and known to science. There are many more Parosphromenus variants, although it is not clear in many of these cases whether they are just newly-discovered local variants of an already described species, a sub-species or even a new separate species. It is however almost impossible to follow how many more, un-described species are known today. Because of the problematic accessibility of many locations, where only few roads exist, it is likely that we can additionally expect the existence of further completely unknown forms or even species. But it is also likely that due to the limited distribution of some forms, a few of them might already have disappeared as a result of forest destruction, before we ever come to know them.
For the many forms with unclear scientific status, shown here, we have to consider that several common notations exist and that they are unfortunately often mixed. For example there are licorice gouramis which have been described as more or less “similar” to another species. Here we can find two types of notation, abbreviated with “aff” (from latin affinis: akin to) and “cf” (from latin to be compared with). “P. spec. aff. x” has then the meaning that the form is so similar to the species “x” to which it is assumed they are closely related, although it is not definitely known if this is the case or if they are in fact identical. “P. spec. cf. y” means that the form resembles y, but it is unclear if this is due to close relationship or if this is eventually based on convergence (independent development to a similar final appearance). It can also mean that it is completely unclear how to classify the form at all. Already the abbreviations “aff.” and “cf.” are unfortunately often confused.
Undescribed licorice gouramis with a clear locality assignment, are often named after this (first) site (P. spec. locality). This may be a settlement nearby, a river, an administrative district or even a part of the country. Accordingly, this name is more or less accurate. Occasionally further localities are added for the same form. This is why two identical forms can be known by different locality names, although it is the same fish. This will remain unclear as long as no genetic information about them is available.
Examples for this common, but unequally accurate way of labelling fish are forms like spec. Jambi, spec. Langgam, spec. Lundu, spec. Palangan, spec. Sentang oder spec. Sungai Bertam. (Many of the today recognised species with scientific names had these provisional names until they were described, e.g. spec. Sukamara for P. opallios. If this was the case, these now obsolete names will still be mentioned in order to state their identity).
Besides the forms, which were characterised by their locality, (many of them discovered and imported by enthusiasts), several more exist, which appeared in trade and which have received fancy names, revealing nothing about their origin. Here we have to assume that local fishermen working for ornamental fish export companies explore and exploit rich fishing areas. This explains the noticeable seasonal accumulation of such offers. It happens that such a form will then be lost again for years. This includes:
spec. “Blue Line “, spec. “Red Line “.
Very rarely exporters use, without any legitimation, latinised names as well, resembling real scientific names. Without formal description and publication these names are not valid. One example is:
“sintangensis” (see above, for the still undetermined spec. Sentang, s.a.)
Finally there is a third way of labelling un-described forms. This happens in connection to imports, which are carried out by some particularly active importers of ornamental fish, especially in Europe. If the locality of origin is unknown, but the fish appears to be similar to already known forms, country-specific names are assigned, often by enthusiasts who need a label for otherwise unlabeled or mis-labelled fish. The same fish, which was imported in one country by a local company and has received a respective enthusiasts’ label, might receive a completely different name in another country on the basis of another import process. The list of scientifically un-described forms is thus very vulnerable to the implementation of multiple name assignments. In many cases this confusion has never been solved, because the small import populations often disappeared quickly. One example in Germany is the alfredi–like form, which was imported in 1998 by the company Mimbon-Aquaristik and which was at times spawned and distributed heavily.. spec. aff. alfredi “Mimbon 98″,
After all, there are still names in one or another language, which have been used by the discoverers of a form with respect to a significant event that has “only” a special meaning for them. Often this name was used in further publications, together with the more accurate site description. This happened to the “Honeymoon-Licorice Gourami”, which was new to the discoverers of P. pahuensis at this time (today´s species name, before named after the localities spec. Jantur Germeruh or spec. Melak), because one of them had his “honeymoon” then. Such enthusiast´s names are of course completely subjective and have no scientific meaning at all.
On the right hand side you will find again a vertical column in alphabetic order with these names; the prefix “species” (spec.) we omit. For the reasons already mentioned, it is not possible to provide a list of all un-described forms. We restrict the list mainly for those, where at least some information is available. By clicking on a name (which is recognisable as a link by colour accentuation), a sheet will open, containing further details – often only a few. Names, which are not highlighted, are not linked (yet). Please consider: this list and the information given on the individual sheets are often less complete as it is the case for the well known species, due to the limitation of available information. Furthermore they are subject to fast changes. Pictures are available in even fewer cases.